You cannot be the bad guy in Mass Effect 3, BioWare has revealed. Whether you're a kindly Mother Teresa or ruthless Jack Bauer, you'll still fight to save the day.
"Paragon actions are usually about building alliances, obeying galactic law, and basing decisions on sympathy and trust," explained BioWare senior writer Patrick Weekes. "Renegade actions usually involve a pragmatic, results-focused approach, breaking laws or taking extreme steps as required to get the job done.
"You're never going to be the villain of Mass Effect 3.
"If you take every Renegade option in the game, you may be brusque with your friends and brutal to your enemies; you may make hard choices that cost you friendships; you may have to go to your grave carrying the weight of crimes that would have you reviled as a monster if they ever came to light. But you are always fighting to save the galaxy, no matter what tactics you take."
In Mass Effect 3 you earn three types of Reputation: Paragon, Renegade and General Reputation. Missions without major Paragon/Renegade decisions can be better rewarded this way, through General Reputation. All three types combine to increase the same Reputation bar.
(Paragon Reputation is depicted with a blue bar, Renegade with Red. You won't see General Reputation, but it will grow the overall blue/red Reputation bar while maintaining your Paragon/Renegade ratio.)
The point is: whether you make all of your decisions in a Paragon way, Renegade way or neutral way won't affect your overall Reputation score.
Weekes explained: "In Mass Effect 3, your Reputation score determines both Charm and Intimidate options, and that score is determined by adding your Paragon and Renegade scores together.
"You're still rewarded for being a completionist player and doing as much content as you can, but you can do it as a Paragon or Renegade player without penalty."
"In Mass Effect 3, as war tears families apart and reduces entire continents to glowing craters, saying, 'I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favourite store on the Citadel,' doesn't carry as much weight as it used to."Patrick Weekes, senior writer, BioWare
Reputation in Mass Effect 3 will be used for more than squeezing extra reward money or lowering shop prices.
"In Mass Effect 3, as war tears families apart and reduces entire continents to glowing craters, saying, 'I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favourite store on the Citadel,' doesn't carry as much weight as it used to," shared Weekes.
"People are already going to be selling you things they wouldn't ordinarily sell, because you're the last hope for the universe. You'll be banking on your Reputation to save planets and gain alliances, not to get a better deal on snow tires."
The Reputation bar has various notches or markers on, which denote certain progression points. When reached, key dialogue options open up.
"If you see that you're a bit short of hitting a new line, and someone has just said something like, 'Let's head down to [that person's homeworld] and finish this once and for all," it may be worth your time to go do a couple of side-quests first, just to see if you can reach that line," instructed Weekes.
Weekes shared three examples of earning Reputation in Mass Effect 3:
"Confronted on the Citadel by a desperate refugee with a gun, you give her some credits and help her find a place to sleep. (Paragon)"
"As a human colony falls to Reaper forces, you order down an orbital strike, brutally killing thousands of colonists to prevent the Reapers from turning them into husks. (Renegade)"
"You land at a turian fuel depot taken by Reaper forces and clear it out, enabling allied forces to keep fighting. (General Reputation)"
The addition of General Reputation means BioWare no longer has to award both Paragon and Renegade Reputation for missions with no major Paragon/Renegade choice climax.